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Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica (California poppy)
Reveal, James L.

Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica

Eschscholzia californica Cham. ssp. californica

California Poppy

Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Synonym(s): Eschscholzia californica var. crocea, Eschscholzia californica var. douglasii, Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Eschscholzia californica var. peninsularis, Eschscholzia procera


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), CAN (I)

A smooth, bluish-green plant with several stems, fern-like leaves, and usually orange flowers borne singly on a long stalk.

On sunny days in spring, California Poppies, the state flower, often turn hillsides orange. Responsive to sunlight, the flowers close at night and on cloudy days. The spicy fragrance attracts mainly beetles, which serve as pollinators. Flowers produced early in the season tend to be larger than those later on. There are other species in California, but none has the conspicuous pink rim at the base of the ovary.

The genus is named after Dr. J.F. Eschscholtz who lived from 1793 to 1831. He performed duties as a surgeon and naturalist with Russian expeditions to the Pacific coast from 1815 to 1818.


From the Image Gallery

49 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Orange
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AZ , CA , CO , CT , GA , HI , ID , IL , KY , LA , MA , MI , MO , NC , NE , NH , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , SC , TN , UT , WA , WI , WY
Native Distribution: S. CA to S. WA and NV; often cultivated.
Native Habitat: Open areas, common on grassy slopes.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica


Record Modified: 2023-04-26
Research By: TWC Staff

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